The impact of pelvic floor muscle training on the quality of life of women with urinary incontinence: a systematic literature review

Clin Interv Aging. 2018 May 17:13:957-965. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S160057. eCollection 2018.


Purpose: The purpose of this review was to assess the effectiveness of pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) in the treatment of urinary incontinence (UI) in women, with a particular focus on the impact of this form of therapy on the patients' quality of life (QoL).

Methods: The following electronic databases were searched: PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library (articles only in English, 1990-2017). Search terms were as follows: urinary incontinence, pelvic floor muscle training, pelvic floor exercises, quality of life. Systematic review methods were based on the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement.

Results: The assessment of the impact of PFMT on the QoL of women with UI was conducted among 2,394 women in 24 selected studies. After the end of treatment, the majority of patients in the experimental groups noted a statistically significant improvement in QoL.

Conclusion: The results of this literature review demonstrate that PFMT is an effective treatment for UI in women. PFMT significantly improves the QoL of women with UI, which is an important determinant of their physical, mental, and social functioning.

Keywords: pelvic floor muscle training; quality of life; urinary incontinence.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Floor / physiopathology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy*